Microsoft’s Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs, the group behind the Facebook-enabled document-sharing service, Docs.com and the social aggregator Spindex, has just launched a new Twitter application called “Project Emporia.”
Unlike Spindex, which is currently in private beta, Emporia is open to anyone, despite it still being in alpha. However, only FUSE Labs employees have access to its “like/dislike” feature, which may be the key selling point for the app.
Emporia isn’t really a Twitter client for managing your own stream, friends, replies and messages, but is more of a specialized search engine that uses “lenses” that let you focus on areas of interest like “technology,” “news,” “sports,” etc.
Pick any one of the lenses and you’re shown two columns, one being a stream view of actual tweets and the other showing the top-ranked web link results. For example, clicking on the “Technology” lens shows the most popular articles from sites like GigaOm, CNET, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and others.
From within each lens, you can also search for specific keywords or terms and see a sidebar featuring popular searches. Those appear to be searches occurring within the app itself, though, not from Twitter.com.
If you choose to sign into the app (via your Windows Live ID), you’ll be able to “like” or “dislike” tweets…that is, when this feature becomes publicly available. For now, it’s limited to FUSE employees only. In the future, these actions will help teach the app’s built-in recommendation engine about your interests. (The engine is a product from Microsoft Research called “Matchbox.”)
To try the app now, head over to projectemporia.com